The Empowerment Center

A Transitional Housing Project

War causes wounds and suffering that last beyond the battlefield and the goals of the Monument to Women Veterans (MWV) Women's Empowerment Center is to heal the wounds, to restore dignity, hope and self-sufficiency to all women veterans in need, and to furnish an integrated approach to improving the quality of life for our female veterans who are suffering from PTSD, TBI and Military Sexual Trauma.

Project Description

This project is focused on the physical and mental well-being for all female veterans facing a variety of transitions. It is designed as a transitional housing program that provides supportive services including job counseling; requires veterans to seek and maintain employment; requires veterans to pay reasonable rent; requires sobriety as a condition of occupancy; and, serves other female veterans in need of housing on a space available basis. The goal of this program is to help all 50 households achieve self-sufficiency and be able to pay their rent and utilities and provide the normal necessary items for a healthy life style for their family with adequate food, clothing, and shelter.

Without a stable place to live and a support system to help them address their underlying problems, most struggling female veterans bounce from one emergency system to the next—from the streets to shelters to public and VA hospitals to psychiatric institutions and detox centers and back to the streets—endlessly. The extremely high cost of this cycle of homelessness, in human and economic terms, can be seen in the lives of many people throughout the Gulf Coast.

The Empowerment Center tenants will have access to a multitude of services provided by MWV and collaborating community service providers that will include primary health services, mental health services, educational services, employment services, life skills, and child care services, if applicable. And, through clearly defined performance measures, we will be able to determine how many persons that had an unmet service need associated with a specific condition (physical disability, developmental disability, chronic health, HIV/AIDS, mental health, substance abuse) were able to receive services for their condition by the time they exited the program.

An annual tenant survey completed by on-site staff as well as the ongoing case management of tenants assists in determining the effectiveness of programs and whether they are meeting defined benchmarks.

The Center will provide space for supportive services to be provided on-site as well as having additional office space so that the property manager could also house their staff onsite. Classes are offered on site in beginning to intermediate computers, as are educational and vocational assessment and case management services. Volunteers and other community resources also provide art therapy groups, meditation groups, and physical fitness classes.

Community-building activities are also the responsibility of the Social Services staff. These include support for a tenant’s council that is active and which meets weekly, movie nights on a donated large screen television, holiday parties & events, and group participation in cultural events in the larger community.

Supportive Services Offered:

  • Opportunity to participate in religious services provided by local churches.
  • Veteran Mentoring Programs-coordinated through the Integrated Approach to Veteran Centered Care and Outreach Projects that will address needs such as substance abuse, education and vocational training, life skills courses for nutrition and hygiene, parenting skills, anger management, job search, resume writing, interviewing skills, basic communications, money management courses, a speakers bureau and other volunteer opportunities
  • Healthcare - both physical and mental health services through the VA and contracted services through Health Systems Consultants and advocated for by MWV and the MWV agreements with other service providers through their established referral procedures

Studies Indicate:

The ever-increasing momentum of government, corporate and philanthropic investment in supportive housing has been bolstered by research documenting its effectiveness.

  • Positive Impacts on Health - Decreases of more than 50% in tenants’ emergency room visits and hospital inpatient days; decreases in tenants’ use of emergency detoxification services by more than 80%; and increases in the use of preventative health care services.
  • Positive impacts on employment - Increases of 50% in earned income and 40% in the rate of participant employment when employment services are provided in supportive housing, and a significant decrease in dependence on entitlements – a $1,448 decrease per tenant each year.
  • Positive impacts on treatment of mental illness - At least a third of those people living in streets and shelters have a severe and persistent mental illness. Supportive housing has proven to be a popular and effective approach for many mentally ill people, as it affords both independence and as-needed support.
  • Positive impacts on reducing or ending substance use - Once people with histories of substance abuse achieve sobriety, their living situation is often a factor in their ability to stay clean and sober. A one year follow-up study of 201 graduates of the Eden Programs chemical dependency treatment programs in Minneapolis found that 56.6% of those living independently remained sober; 56.5% of those living in a halfway house remained sober; 57.1% of those living in an unsupported SRO remained sober; while 90% of those living in supportive housing remained sober. For more data on the positive impacts of supportive housing, please visit:
    The Source for Housing Solutions

After Reviewing other Programs

In reviewing other programs, we learned that they have several outcomes they utilize to gauge their progress and success.

  • 80% of all participants will remain in housing for one year or move to other permanent housing where they pay their own rent
  • 70% of participants will remain in housing for two or more years or move to other permanent housing where they pay their own rent
  • 70% of participants will obtain increased marketable skills or income within two years
  • 60% of all participants will be involved in training or education within one year
  • 70% of all participants will remain in recovery for a minimum of three years
  • 80% of the participants that participate in the education and training services will increase their skills in at least one area
  • 60% of the participants that increase their skills in education and/or training will secure part-time, full-time or volunteer work

Our Programs

Guided Principles

Home for the Holidays

Emergency Housing

Guided Principles

The Empowerment Center

Transitional Housing

Guided Principles

The Invisible War

Community Education & Advocacy